Violent clashes have broken out in Gabon between police and several thousand demonstrators calling for presidential candidate Ali Ben Bongo to resign from the cabinet as defence minister.
AFP - Violent clashes broke out in Gabon Friday between police and several thousand demonstrators who called for presidential candidate Ali Ben Bongo to resign from the cabinet as defence minister.
Several people were injured.
The unrest erupted after police used tear gas to disperse a demonstration against Bongo, a son of the late president Omar Bongo Ondimba who is seen as one of the likely candidates to succeed his father in an August 30 election.
On Thursday, a coalition of about 10 of the candidates to succeed Omar Bongo announced a march to demand that his son quit the government, on the grounds that he could use his position to forward his own campaign.
Libreville authorities banned the march.
When police moved in to disperse several hundred demonstrators who defied the ban, the crackdown prompted several thousand more people to join the demonstrators and throw stones at the police who riposted with more tear gas.
Omar Bongo's death at 72 was announced on June 8, after 41 years in power, and more than 20 candidates have come forward hoping to succeed him, ranging from opposition figures to heavyweights in the ruling Gabonese Democratic Rally.
Eight candidates running in Gabon's presidential election demanded in a joint statement on July 27 that two other candidates, including Bongo, resign from the government ahead of the polls.
In a joint statement, the eight said that both Bongo and Technical Education Minister Pierre-Claver Maganga Moussavou should step down, as have presidential candidates who are mostly not in the ruling party.
Jean Eyeghe Ndong resigned as prime minister to become a candidate on July 17, after heading the government for more than three years. His successor, Biyoghe Mba, has formed a new team that dropped three heavyweights, Andre Mba Obame, Casimir Oye Mba and Paul Mba Abessole.
All three plan to stand for election and signed Monday's declaration.
Date created : 2009-08-07